Brass Brunel [EVENTS]

Organiser James made this fab K-1909
Bristol is getting its first steampunk weekender! Brass Brunel will take place from 20th to 22nd June 2014.

I’m very excited about this. Two of my favourite events last year were the Frome Steampunk Extravaganza (my writeup) and the Vintage Nostalgia Show (my writeup), but this year both events are taking place on the same weekend, and Vintage Nostalgia won out. I was, however, a little sad at the possibility of a year without a steampunk weekender to enjoy. This looks like filling the gap nicely.

The event is being put together by James Richardson-Brown, whose artwork has been exhibited at a number of events, including the Bodleian Library’s landmark exhibition of steampunk art, and the British Library’s science fiction exhibition. This is a chap who knows his steampunk! So I’ve got high hopes for the quality of the acts he’ll be putting on, and the traders who’ll be selling in the marketplace.

There are two nights of entertainment. The first night is rather ‘steamgoth’, which isn’t really a surprise to me as many older steampunks have ties to the old-school goth subculture and Bristol also has a largish goth community. Top of the bill are Gladstone, a 'dark steampunk' act. I think that night should be a jolly good laugh, though I might have to leave Mr Robot in a nearby pub as he’s not keen on goth stuff. A night for many beers, much dancing, and finding your feet and making friends if you’re new to Bristol or steampunk. On the second night the emphasis is more on Victoriana, more traditionally steampunk, with a music-hall feel and a mentalist and a Victorian strongman act as well as music from The Cockneys. I’m guessing that one will be more of an occasion for dressing up.
Image taken from page 178 of 'Picnic: an illustrated guide to Ilfracombe and North Devon, with notes on Lynmouth, Clovelly, Lundy, etc'
Image from The British Library's copyright-free stream on Flickr

Most steampunk events have one of these, and the one for Brass Brunel is being carefully planned out to ensure a good mix of high-quality stalls.

Bristol’s an interesting place to have a steampunk event because it, more than anywhere else, forces an engagement with the best and worst aspects of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s wonderful constructions to admire, the SS Great Britain to look round, and a trail following the history of the slave trade to make you think. (You can still enjoy as beer in the Seven Stars, where some of the abolitionists stayed while gathering information.) Bristol already has a lively steampunk subculture, and I bet the locals will have fun planning all sorts of picnics and excursions away from the main events.

Tickets are available for the whole weekend, or just parts of the event, and there are still some at the bargainous Early Bird prices as I type this. (Brass Brunel ticket website.) I’ve already bought full weekend tickets for me and Mr Robot. Now to start planning an outfit, because I can’t pull the gold dress out yet again...

Interested in events in Wiltshire and East Somerset? Check out my guide to What's On In Vintage Wiltshire!


  1. Eeeeee! Love the K-1909 and I don't ordinarily like K-9 :)

  2. This sounds fun, I haven't really dabbled in Steampunk, but any excuse to dress up really! My little brother's in Bristol, I will mention this to him (thinking ahead of free place to stay....) P x


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